SSP Daily Digest: 3/29


FL-Sen: I was pretty bored with reading the George LeMieux tea leaves even before his cuppa began brewing, but in case you’re not me, the very-short-tenured former senator has been busy attending Lincoln Day dinners and meeting with GOP activists and potential donors. In beltway land, I think this upgrades him from “Lean Run” to “Likely Run.”

IN-Sen: Treasurer Richard Mourdock is trying to cause some trouble by saying that Gov. Mitch Daniels encouraged him to run against Dick Lugar in the GOP primary, while a Daniels spokesperson said the governor did no such thing. Daniels previously said he’d vote for Lugar, but didn’t exactly endorse him. In other news, Mourdock says he expects to show $125K raised for his race in just a month of campaigning.


KY-Gov: Dem Gov. Steve Beshear just punked his top opposition in this year’s gubernatorial race, state Senate President David Williams, hard. Williams had insisted on broad spending cuts (including to education) as part of a Medicaid budget bill; the Democratic-controlled House had no interest in these cuts, but Williams refused any possible compromise. So House Dems (and rebellious House Republicans) passed the Williams bill anyway… I know, hang on … but full-well expecting Beshear to use his line-item veto to strike the cuts. Then they adjourned, so that the vetoes couldn’t get over-ridden. And that’s exactly what happened, handing Williams a humiliating defeat.

WI-Gov: I’m wondering which pollster will finally have the courage to report numbers to the THOUSANDTHS of a percent. For now, we’ll have to content ourselves with Republican-affiliated pollster We Ask America, which bravely ignores all rules about significant digits and goes all the way to hundredths. They show what other polls are showing: that Scott Walker (like other loser Midwestern Republican governors) has crappy job approval ratings, in this case 43.71 to 54.87. YES DECIMALS.

WV-Gov: The AP has a good run-down on which groups are endorsing whom in the gubernatorial race. On the Dem side, we’ve noted several of the big union heavy hitters, most of whom are backing state House Speaker Rick Thompson. But some important labor groups are supporting other candidates, like state Sen. Jeff Kessler (Fraternal Order of Police, nurses) and Treasurer John Perdue (teamsters, state troopers). Meanwhile, EMILY’s List has endorsed SoS Natalie Tenant. The AP also tried to get candidates to cough up estimates of their fundraising figures (final reports are due Friday), but only acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin responded, saying he’d pulled in about a million bucks.

And speaking of Thompson, he’s apparently the first on TV, with an ad touting his hardscrabble upbringing. By the way, SSP Southern Correspondent Trent Thompson notes that the soundtrack you hear is a Baptist hymn, which seems to be popular among Southern Dems (Bobby Bright featured this sort of thing in his advertising). (UPDATE: Actually, it’s an actually an old Hank Williams gospel song that’s commonly sung in churches.)


CA-36: It looks like we have the final list of candidate filings for the special election. I count ten Democrats, six Republicans, five “nonpartisan,” two Libertarians (splitter!), and one “Peace and Freedom” candidate. Also, Howard Dean just endorsed Debra Bowen, which is not too surprising given that his former organization, Democracy for America (run by Howard’s brother Jim), also recently endorsed.

CA-51: Apparently there had been vague rumors that Dem Rep. Bob Filner might run for mayor of San Diego… and now apparently Filner just went and announced he was in fact doing so in a totally off-hand remark after a screening of the film Freedom Riders. (Filner himself was one of the Mississippi Freedom Riders.) There’s been some dispute over whether Filner’s remarks were accurately conveyed, but oddly, Filner’s office has refused to either confirm or deny the statement. Note that the race is in June of next year, so I believe Filner gets a free shot while keeping his House seat.

TX-23: Not so fast, Quico! Gary Martin of the Houston Chronicle says that Dems are looking at a few potential challengers to freshman GOPer Quico Canseco, including state Rep. Joaquin Castro and Pete Gallego, and state Sen. Carlos Uresti. Ex-Rep. Ciro Rodriguez is also apparently weighing a rematch. While the borders of the 23rd will undoubtedly shift somewhat, it probably can’t change a whole lot thanks to the VRA (it’s 66% Hispanic), so this race could heat up earlier than many others.

WI-01: Food service company owner and Kenosha County Supervisor Rob Zerban is apparently interested in challenging GOP Rep. Paul Ryan. Despite his leadership post and his inflexible conservatism, Ryan sits in a very swingish district that can’t really be improved in redistricting for a variety of reasons.

Other Races:

ME-St. Sen.: The Maine SoS has set May 10th as the date for a special election to fill the seat of state Sen. Larry Bliss (D). The reason for Bliss’s resignation was certainly unusual and quite poignant: He couldn’t find a job in Maine. State legislators work part-time and are only paid $13,000 a year. Bliss said that in the absence of other work, he’d been working as a “full-time” legislator and was really enjoying his job, but he could only find employment in California, prompting his resignation. Of course, this story really isn’t that unusual at all, given how many people are still out of work and struggling terribly. Also of note: Bliss was one of only a handful of openly LGBT state legislators nationwide.

PA-AG: Longtime Philly DA Lynne Abraham (D), who left office just last year, said she’s considering a run for state AG, despite being 70 years old. (Devoted Swingnuts will recall that ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy is also thinking about a run.) Believe it or not, no Democrat has won the AG’s office since it became an elected position in 1980.

Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: Unnamed sources tell the National Review they’ve seen polling showing the race between incumbent Justice David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg “near even.”


Census: Like in NYC, pols in Atlanta are wondering why the new Census numbers for their city are so much lower than expected – 420K vs. a projected 540K. Jacob Alperin-Sherrif (better known to you as DemocraticLuntz) has an excellent post comparing Census projections with actual numbers for cities between 100K and 1 million people. You need to click through for his must-see scatterplot. There is one massive outlier: Atlanta, which is more than six standard deviations away from the mean.

Redistricting Roundup:

Indiana: Despite total Republican control over the process, it’s starting to look like the Indiana legislature won’t finish their congressional map before the body adjourns on April 29th, largely because of a walk-out by Democrats which ground most work to a halt. But the Democrats just reached what they’re saying is a favorable a deal with the Republicans, so perhaps the process will pick up again soon.

Iowa: The state’s independent redistricting panel will release the first draft of a new congressional map at 8:15 am local time on Thursday morning.

Virginia: New maps for Congress, the state House and the state Senate could be released by the legislature today. Stay alert!

136 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 3/29”

  1. The first round is in June, but the runoff is in November. I guess Filner could technically run for both, but it would probably look bad.

  2. That news about the Virginia maps is going to distract me all day. Hopefully the legislature will come through, though I’m not excited about seeing how bad the House of Delegates map may look.

  3. Could very easily be made more Democratic (by getting Beloit and possibly Green County added back into the district) or more Republican (by taking in more Milwaukee suburbs).  That doesn’t mean that it will be, of course, but it definitely could be.  

  4. My flatmates probably think I’m crazy now.

    I would really like to see Gov. Beshear graduate on up to White House chief of staff or political director after he’s done being governor. He has to be one of the most brilliant political chessmasters in the country right now. What an embarrassing ass-whupping for Williams and the Republicans.

  5.     The Peace and Freedom Party was originally founded in 1967 as an antiwar party and has existed in CA more or less ever since (though they lost ballot status at one point but are now fully qualified.) It is the leftmost of CA’s six parties as it is now explicitly socialist where the Greens are more just the whole-wheat left. Of course they don’t have a major impact on the elections, but I wanted to explain about that “party”…

  6. His brother, Peter Huntsman, the CEO of Huntsman Chemical, said his brother Jon could make an attractive candidate, but not necessarily in 2012. All of the recent action makes it seem likely he’s going to run for the nomination in 2012, but I guess I could see him toying with the idea of staking out the responsible conservative end now and, after the humiliating defeat of a Bachmann like candidate, trying to parlay that into the nomination in 2016. He’s young enough, after all. But considering that Tea Party leader Jaqueline Smith of Utah said he’s a socialist on a good day and a communist on a bad one, I’m not sure he has a place left in the Republican party.

    Interestingly, the Bloomberg article mentions that Peter Huntsman voted for Obama and still wants him to succeed. [Personal note: if you want a focus on economic development and deficit reduction, Peter Huntsman, why don’t you offer your services to the president? You aren’t some small time business owner; you’re the CEO of a MAJOR corporation. You could possibly bring a lot of business leaders along with you.] I’ve flirted with this idea before, but I’ll make it official: I think there’s a (growing?) chance Jon Huntsman enters the Utah Senate race, but as a Democrat, or an Independent that caucuses with them. Does his personal appeal in the state remain strong? If so, and if the Republicans bounce Hatch, he could have an opening. I’m prepared to eat my words if this doesn’t come true, but if it does, you heard it here first.

  7. He’s down by 14 against Huckabee, six against Gingrich and Romney, and only four against Palin. Oddly enough, he’s down only ten against Haley Barbour, who the state’s voters do not seem particularly enthused about as far as the presidential race goes.

    As I said at PPP’s blog, these numbers are remarkably similar to the results in 2008, when he lost the state by 13 points to McCain. But what’s curious is his 16 percent approval rating amongst whites. In 2008, he only received 11 percent of their votes. It’s certainly possible that people there approve of him but won’t vote for him, but why would that be the case? And while he only has a 93 percent approval rating amongst blacks, he received 98 percent of their votes in 2008. I don’t see that changing much at all.

    If we take PPP’s racial breakdown of 63/33/4 for white/black/other, with Obama getting 16/98/70 percent, that would leave him with 45.22 percent. If he were able to get all the way up to 20 percent of the white vote, he’d be up to 47.74 percent of the vote. Even if we were to change the racial breakdown to 61/35/4 and have Obama get both 20 percent of the white vote and 98 percent of the black vote, he’d still only 49.3 percent of the vote overall.

    You can see the uphill climb, but since the margin is so close against some of these candidates, since the state is so cheap to campaign in, and since there are House and Senate contests, perhaps he could make a play for the state if he’s feeling adventurous.  


    The map passed the State Senate today and is expected to pass the House with ease. There is 1 additional black majority district. All in all, looks to me like a wash. Should be interesting in the future.

    Question, if this were to pass the house this week, would that make it the first finished redistricting plan in the nation?

    If so, who would’ve thought the Democratic-controlled senate would’ve been able to pass their plan faster than in states with one party control. Just goes to show how little party label matters down here.

  9. Jake Wagman has the story for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

    Sen. Claire McCaskill allowed for a moment of politics at Monday’s event with the nation’s farming chief, offering a word of encouragement for U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilasck after a joint appearance on the riverfront.

    Only it wasn’t Vilsack that McCaskill was extending her support to — it was his wife.

    Christie Vilsack, former First Lady of the Corn State, has been edging toward running for office herself, contemplating a run for Congress.

    “Tell Christie I think it’s a great idea,” McCaskill said to Tom Vilsack after a press conference at the ADM grain elevator in St. Louis. “Tell her I’ll come up and knock on some doors!”

    We Iowans can’t wait for that map on Thursday morning!

  10. Profiles Republican’s search for a candidate to go up against Debbie Stabenow in 2012.

    He says some Republicans are hoping some rich businessman will enter the race and light the state on fire ala Ron Johnson, or that “hugely popular vote-getter” will enter the race, conveniently forgetting that PPP found his approval rating to be upside down at 33-45, and losing to Stabenow 49-42 (even as Hoekstra nearly tied her at 45-44). I’m still of the opinion that the nominee will be Some Rich Dude.

  11. I guess they hope that their polls will be seen as more exact and thus more scientific. Will be interesting to see how this poll is reported in the media

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